WASHINGTON -- The Black Administrators in Child Welfare (BACW), a national child welfare advocacy organization located in Washington, and the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, not-for-profit, child- and family-service and behavioral healthcare accrediting organization has partnered to improve outcomes for children in the child welfare system. The project is funded by a $400,000 two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
This two year project will integrate BACW best practice strategies for reducing racial disproportionality and disparate services and outcomes into the COA Accreditation Standards that will assist child welfare agencies across the country seeking accreditation, to work toward addressing the systemic factors that can effectively reduce and ultimately eliminate racial disparities in child welfare service delivery and decision-making. COA views accreditation as a catalyst for change that builds on an organization's strengths and helps it achieve better results in all areas. BACW has conducted a number of research studies that identified states and jurisdictions that are demonstrating best practices and systemic improvements in policies and practices that hold the most promise for reducing the number of children of color in the child welfare system, reducing service disparities and outcomes, and in moving children out of the system at a faster rate.
BACW have identified 10 Racial Equity Strategy Areas (RESA) and actions designed through a culturally relevant lens. These strategies include utilizing data collection systems to track and monitor progress through all stages of the service delivery systems; creative finance- redesigning funding streams toward prevention and effective service delivery efforts; focus on strengthening kinship care programs and supports to relatives caring for children; strong partnerships with community service providers; involving youth and parents in the decision-making process; strengthening child welfare training systems; and enhancing programs for youth aging. A central theme throughout the development and implementation of such strategies include a commitment to the integration and sustainability of racial equity practice that reflects an understanding, action and promotion of racial equity in agency vision, decision-making, and policies.
BACW/COA will review, further develop and integrate best practice strategies for systemic improvements in child welfare policies and practices with COA child welfare accreditation standards aimed at improving child welfare policies and practices that will improve the well-being of children, families and communities and reduce the systemic factors that contribute to racial disproportionate representation in the child welfare system. BACW/COA will also work together to pilot and evaluate the implementation of such best practice strategies as formal components of the COA child welfare accreditation standards.
Established in 1971, the Black Administrators in Child Welfare is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of African American children and their families who are gravely overrepresented in the nation’s child welfare system. BACW is the only national child welfare organization involved in work that addresses child welfare policy, practice, and research on behalf of all children and African American children specifically.
COA was founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Children and Families). Originally known as an accrediting body for family and children's agencies, COA currently accredits over 45 different service areas. Among the service areas are substance abuse treatment, adult day care, services for the homeless, foster care, and inter-country adoption.